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NEWCASTLE 10 SAINTS 35 Burrell: Win based on defence

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Saints got off to a flying start, showing their intent with a powerful attack finished when Will Hooley kept his legs pumping to burst through two tackles on his way to the whitewash with just three minutes on the clock.

It may have been the 20-year-old’s first start of the regular season, but he controlled the first half superbly, working in tandem with Kahn Fotuali’i to get Saints onto the front foot. And it was the Samoan who had a key role to play in try number two, ghosting between a couple of defenders as part of a superb move finished by Alex Waller.

Fotuali’i could have scored the third himself, choosing instead to put Ken Pisi away, and with Hooley landing three penalties and two conversions at one point Saints were scoring at a rate of a point a minute.

However Newcastle rallied towards the end of the first half, camping out on the Saints’ line, and carried that form into a second half in which the Falcons dominated both possession and territory.

But Saints did not yield, save for a breakaway try from Noah Cato with 11 minutes to play. By this time the game was won, though, and when George North rounded off some good team play late on with his fourth of the season the visitors had a maximum haul, too.

“What won us the game was our defence and winning those fine yards,” Burrell said. “As a defensive unit we were outstanding today, and to not let them break us aside from that breakaway try was fantastic for us.

“We knew it was about starting well. We had a bit of a dry spell in the second half where Newcastle started firing into the breakdown and upping their intensity, but to get off to a flying start like that was brilliant. It’s about catching teams off guard and we did that in the opening 30 minutes.”

It was the first time that Saints had had a run-out on Kingston Park’s artificial surface. It was a far cry from last February’s heavy pitch, and with balmy conditions overhead both teams made the most of the good running.

And Burrell says that any win in the north east is worth savouring.

“Newcastle is a tough place to come,” he added. “There’s a new pitch and it’s a club that’s going places who recruited well over the summer. They’ve been a bit unfortunate with their previous results and have a good squad.”

You can re-live the action from Kingston Park at www.saintslive.co.uk

Saints are back in action on Saturday, September 27th when they host Bath in an Aviva Premiership top four clash at Franklin’s Gardens. Kick off is 3:15pm and tickets remain on sale 24/7 by CLICKING HERE and following the straightforward instructions!

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